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The Cycle of Marijuana Abuse and Depression & When to Consider Getting Treatment Help

Marijuana abuse alters the chemical makeup of the brain, which can lead to or worsen emotional disorders such as depression.

Marijuana use, once illegal on every front, has gained acceptance as a medicinal remedy in many states, with its use as an accepted recreational substance not far behind. While the medicinal benefits of marijuana may well be noteworthy, like prescription pain pills, marijuana abuse still comes with a considerable risk of abuse and addiction.

As with most any addictive substance, the effects of marijuana abuse on the brain can disrupt a person’s emotional equilibrium over time. These conditions soon give way to a cycle of marijuana abuse and emotional distress in the form of depression.

Over time, a vicious cycle of marijuana abuse and depression can develop driving users closer and closer to full-blown addiction. Understanding how marijuana abuse diminishes the brain’s functional capacity can help you get needed treatment help before a bad situation turns worse.

Marijuana’s Effects

Interactions in the Brain

Marijuana Abuse and Depression

Depression and anxiety are common marijuana withdrawal effects.

THC, one of the many cannabinoid chemicals found in the cannabis plant, acts as the active ingredient in marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, THC easily integrates within the brain’s own cannabinoid system, which accounts for much of the risk associated with marijuana abuse and addiction.

The brain’s cannabinoid system regulates a range of brain and body functions, including emotions and perceptions. Over time, the effects of marijuana change the brain’s chemical makeup to the point where emotional instability becomes more so the norm than the exception.

Withdrawal Episodes

With frequent marijuana use, the brain becomes increasingly dependent on the drug to function normally in terms of regulating the body’s systems. According to the Journal of Addictive Diseases, this dependency gives rise to withdrawal effects as brain function weakens. Withdrawal effects experienced include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Muddled thinking

Feelings of depression in particular can play an active role in perpetuating continued drug use since many users attempt to gain relief by using more of the drug. Before long, this practice takes on a life of its own forming a vicious cycle of marijuana abuse and worsening depression symptoms.

Not sure if your insurance will help cover your treatment costs? Call our helpline at 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) for more information.

What is Marijuana Use Disorder & What are the Signs?

Dual Diagnosis Potential

The cycle of marijuana abuse and depression creates prime conditions for a full-blown depression disorder to take root. When marijuana abuse and depression disorder co-exist, a dual diagnosis condition is present.

According to the University of Utah Health Services, both marijuana abuse and depression create brain chemical imbalances that tend to worsen over time. In effect, these conditions feed off one another, driving increased marijuana use while increasing depression severity. At this point, both conditions become considerably harder to treat and overcome.

Treatment Considerations

If you engage in marijuana abuse on a regular basis and find yourself feeling increasingly depressed, lacking energy and spending more and more time alone, the marijuana abuse/depression cycle may well be at work. Considering how these two conditions work to impair brain functioning over time, the sooner you seek out needed treatment help the better.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling with marijuana abuse and depression and have more questions, or need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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